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The mayor of Arkansas' capital city says Little Rock will submit an application to become the location of Amazon's second headquarters.

Mark Stodola wrote on Twitter on Monday that the city "will Think Big and Be Creative" as it creates its bid to attract the tech giant.

Amazon said Thursday that it plans to spend more than $5 billion to build a second headquarters in North America to house as many as 50,000 employees.

The company's requirements: It wants to be near a metropolitan area with more than 1 million people; be able to attract top technical talent; be within 45 minutes of an international airport; have direct access to mass transit; and wants to be able to expand that headquarters to as much as 8 million square feet in the next decade. Its original headquarters is in Seattle.

Little Rock's airport does not have U.S. Customs Service presence or direct international flights, according to its website. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway metro area had a population of 731,612 in 2015.

-- Arkansas Online

Business on 09/12/2017

Print Headline: LR mayor tweets bid for $5B Amazon hub

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Comments

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  • RBear
    September 12, 2017 at 7:32 a.m.

    I commented on this yesterday, but the D-G cleans out the comments with each iteration of the story. To start with, this is a non-starter with Little Rock and more a publicity stunt by Stodola to attempt to continue to look cool. If Little Rock DIDN'T submit a bid, people with a lot less knowledge of this process would be screaming at city officials for not trying. Let's just hope they don't spend too much time and money putting this together.
    ...
    But let's look at WHY LIT would not even make it past the first round. First, there's mass transit. AMZN is currently HQed in the South Lake Union area of Seattle which has, at best, streetcar service. It does help AMZN as they have had to spread their campus throughout the area due to lack of enough real estate to build a true campus. This past summer, AMZN hired so many interns the Seattle transit system had to add buses to increase frequency and accommodate the influx of passengers.
    ...
    AMZN wants to build a single campus of 100 acres eventually expanding to 8 million sq. ft. and 50,000 employees. Having worked on another mega corporate campus of 286 acres and 4.4 million sq. ft. with over 16,000 employees, I can attest to the problems a large campus brings. Mass transit on site is the only way to go. Little Rock has nothing of the size of infrastructure AMZN would need and has rejected opportunities to expand that in recent years.
    ...
    Then there's the airport. For AMZN to function, direct flights are needed to SEA, SFO, NYC, and DCA. Add to that the need for international flights. While airlines could add the flights, they are also going to expect enough demand to keep them flying and I don't believe AMZN can generate enough air traffic. Otherwise, they'd charter their own planes. While LIT is connected one flight away from hubs, that's an extra 2-3 hours travel time for any passengers and AMZN doesn't want to have to deal with that. It also adds a day onto any trip. Yes, Walmart makes it work but Walmart's main e-Commerce technology is in the Valley where there is better air service.
    ...
    Finally, there's the regressive political environment of Arkansas. Bezos is a strong supporter of marriage equality and gender identity. Arkansas continues to pass or propose regressive legislation that discriminates against LGBT individuals. Even if AMZN did move to any area of Arkansas, recent legislation passed that is under court review prevents any municipality from passing non-discrimination ordinances. Stodola and Hutchinson may want to court the big companies, but our hillbilly legislators from Bigelow and other parts snub their noses at such economic opportunity.
    ...
    While we may not make the first cut, this should spark conversations in Little Rock about how the city IS prepared for such opportunities. It should be a major debate point in the mayoral race next year. Little Rock has been treading water for far too long.

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